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Archive of September 21, 2010

Archbishop urges Argentineans to defend life and family

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sep 21, 2010 (CNA) - Archbishop Alfonso Delgado of San Juan de Cuyo, Argentina denounced the recent series of attacks against life and the family in the country, including the various attempts to legalize abortion. He called such measures modern-day manifestations of the massacre of the innocents ordered by King Herod.

During an ordination Mass for five new priests, the archbishop recalled that the family is based on the profound union between one man and one woman meant to be a life-long endeavor of love.  “That special complementarity of marriage, which goes from the biological to the spiritual, is capable of creating a new human life and assuming responsibility for it. Children are the fruit of human life and of the creative power of God,” he explained.

This natural disposition is under assault from the lawmakers who recently approved homosexual unions by violating their consciences and their oath to represent the people, the archbishop continued. “In this way they have placed themselves against the people that elected them, against the Argentinean family and against nature.  I believe that when the time comes the people will remember this assault,” he said.

“The attacks on the family and life do not end here,” the archbishop went on. “Other bills have already been proposed that would legalize the killing of newborns and the unborn.  Jesus himself experienced this risk and for this reason he fled to Egypt.  The martyrdom of the ‘holy innocents’ bears witness to this.  It seems there are new Herods who aim to repeat that cruelty.  Babies are just as human as each one of you, they are the most vulnerable and defenseless among us, the ones who deserve the greatest care and protection from all of society and its leaders.”

Archbishop Delgado wondered aloud whether this “permission to kill” would constitute “crimes against humanity” committed by the State.  “What happened to the human rights that those who support this killing often speak about? In which trash can of our consciences are we throwing away the first of all human rights, which is the right to life?” he asked.

He exhorted Argentineans to urge their representatives to stand up for life and not become “accomplices of a new and horrible slaughter of human beings, a new genocide in Argentina.” Comparing abortion to the Nazi holocaust, the archbishop said, “This cannot be the path for Argentina or for Argentineans.  Nor can it be the path for anyone who has a minimum of respect for human dignity and rights. Much less should someone who claims to ‘represent’ the people act in this way,” he concluded.

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Attempts to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and military abortion ban fail

Washington D.C., Sep 21, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The U.S. Senate blocked a controversial military bill on Tuesday afternoon which would have repealed the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy and allowed elective abortions to be carried out on military bases at home and abroad.

In May of this year, the Senate Armed Services Committee and the full U.S. House approved measures to repeal the 1993 policy allowing homosexuals to serve only if they do not reveal their sexual orientation as part of the overarching Defense Authorization Bill of 2011.

However, on Sept. 21, a Republican-led filibuster blocked a vote on repealing the measure, with Democrats failing to garner the 60 votes needed to bring the defense bill up for consideration. According to the Chicago Tribune, the vote was 56-43 in favor of starting debate on the legislation.

Critics of the repeal praised the move on Tuesday, with Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins calling it “a victory for the men and women who serve our nation in uniform.”

“At least for now,” he noted, “they will not be used to advance a radical social agenda.”

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apparently doesn't realize that if everyone with traditional values leaves the military, virtually no one will be left to defend our country,” Perkins added.

Also of concern to critics of the bill was an amendment that would have provided for elective abortions in U.S. military bases at home and overseas.

Spearheaded by Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.), who added the amendment to the defense bill in May, the measure would have repealed a ban on abortions being performed at military hospitals. Currently, the Department of Defense is forbidden from performing the procedure except in the cases of rape, incest, or for the health of the mother.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life Action, also issued a statement on Tuesday praising the votes against proceeding with the defense bill.

“We applaud the outstanding leaders in the Senate who led the fight to win today’s key vote rejecting taxpayer-funded abortion in the military,” Yoest wrote. “They stood on principle and scored a major victory for our service members and their families.”

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Cardinal affirms Chile's rejection of abortion

Santiago, Chile, Sep 21, 2010 (CNA) - During the celebrations commemorating Chile’s bicentennial, Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz of Santiago called on the faithful to continuing building their country on the foundation of the Gospel, which has been the basis for rejecting the new cultural and ideological colonialism of abortion.

The Chilean bishops, he said, are committed to doing everything in their power to ensure the country continues to value the “treasure it received from its inception, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

He then made reference to the Christian values that have been part of the fabric of the nation from the very moment Spaniards first arrived in Chile, and noted the contributions made by the native peoples and immigrants throughout the centuries.

“In 1520 the first Mass was celebrated at the Straits of Magellan. Soon after missionaries ventured into lands known and unknown with only the courage of Christ in their hearts. The baptisms they administered were precisely what sowed a new relationship, which they passionately defended against many powerful conquistadores,” the cardinal said.

He also thanked God that Chile has opposed the new cultural and ideological colonialism by defending the life of the unborn. 

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Officials react with surprise to investigation of Vatican bank's chairman

Rome, Italy, Sep 21, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Italian authorities began an investigation on Tuesday of the Vatican Bank's chairman, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, along with another unnamed executive at the bank, for suspected violations of a 2007 Italian law intended to fight money laundering. Both the Vatican Secretariat of State and the mayor of Rome expressed surprise at the allegations, and declared their confidence in the bank's leadership. 

On September 15, civil authorities seized an amount of $30 million deposited by the Vatican's bank, known as the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), at the private Italian bank Credito Artigiano SpA. Authorities say the Vatican's bank has not complied with Italian laws requiring the disclosure of information about account holders and beneficiaries.

The Financial Information Unit of the Banca d'Italia—the Italian equivalent of the U.S. Federal Reserve—intervened and suspended two transactions between Credito Artigiano and the IOR, which was intending to send several million dollars to the German branch of J.P. Morgan in Frankfurt, and to the Banca del Fucino in central Italy.

IOR chairman Tedeschi told the Italian news agency ADN KRONOS that he had “strived, together with the General Director … to confront all the problems for which I am being investigated today.” He added that he has been working “full-time to solve them” since his appointment to head the bank.

Last fall, investigators began looking into accounts of the IOR at Italy's biggest bank, Unicredit.The Italian news agency ANSA reported investigators' concerns at that time regarding some checks and bank drafts issuing from IOR accounts.

One unnamed judicial source told Italian reporters on Sept. 21 that the Banca d'Italia was acting with “excessive zeal” in interpreting the 2007 law on account disclosures. Among other rules, the norm requires banks to clearly state who the beneficiary is of financial transactions. The judicial official said that, in the Vatican bank's case, the information is “hardly a secret,” since all of the IOR's financial transactions are currently intended to cover the Vatican's persistent budget deficit.

“We might be looking at a clerical error here, but we still have to wait for the official judiciary decision,” the anonymous source also told reporters.

In a communique issued on Sept. 21, the Vatican Secretariat of State said that the IOR's “clear desire for full transparency” was “well known,” having been “demonstrated many times by the authorities of the Holy See.” The statement responded to investigators' concerns, noting that the IOR had worked to develop good relations with international regulatory bodies as well as the Bank of Italy.

“The Holy See, therefore, is perplexed and astonished by the initiative of the Prosecutor of Rome, especially since the information necessary is already available from the relevant offices of the Bank of Italy,” the Secretariat of State responded. The communique also noted that “analogous operations” comparable to those of the IOR were “going on concurrently with other Italian institutions of credit.”

The mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, also expressed surprise, along with his “solidarity with the President of the IOR,” saying he was well-acquainted with the “personal and professional moral virtues of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. He said he hoped the circumstances of the investigation, which left him “completely perplexed,” would soon be clarified by Italian authorities.

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African American pastors warn against repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Washington D.C., Sep 21, 2010 (CNA) -

Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins and several African American religious leaders held a press conference on Monday to urge the Senate to vote against a move that would repeal the current “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy banning openly homosexual persons from serving in the military.

The Senate is slated to vote later this afternoon on whether or not to repeal the 1993 policy allowing homosexuals to serve only if they do not reveal their sexual orientation as part of the overarching Defense Authorization Bill of 2011. The Senate Armed Services Committee and the full U.S. House approved measures to change the law in May. 

In a press conference at FRC facilities in Washington D.C on Sept. 20, Perkins, accompanied by the church leaders, expressed concern over the implications for religious liberty and military readiness, should homosexuals be allowed to serve openly in the military.

Leaders at yesterday's conference included non-denominational pastor Rev. Harry Jackson of Great Hope Church in Washington, D.C., Pastor Aubrey Shines of Tampa, Pastor Christopher Brooks of Detroit, non-denominational Bishop Leon Benjamin, Rev. Dean Nelson of Virginia, Rev. Lou Engle and Austin Nimocks who is Senior Counsel of the Alliance Defense Fund.

“Today, I joined my friend Bishop Harry Jackson and a group of predominantly African-American pastors who met to declare their support for retaining the current law against homosexuality in the armed forces,” said Tony Perkins on Sept. 20. “A crucial vote on the effort by liberal activists to overturn the law will take place in the Senate tomorrow.”

“The group gathered here is very concerned about the fate of the military and what if means to everyday people in the nation,” added Rev. Harry Jackson. “As our country wrestles to come out of deep recession,” he noted,  and as “our military continues in a state of war abroad, this Congress in considering what we think is the most radical form of social experiment.”

“The defense authorization bill should about military readiness and it should be about a strong national defense, but unfortunately the Senate is set to consider the repeal of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy in spite of concerns raised by all of the service chiefs to the contrary.”

This, he underscored, is “very arrogant.”

“Repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' will destroy the necessary readiness and cohesion of our service men and women to perform their duties successfully,” he said. “There is no constitutional right to serve in the military if one's conduct is not conducive to military readiness.”

“Let me be frank,” he continued. “Introducing sexual tension and conduct into our barracks will be a distraction from the very business of the military and that is protecting us from our enemies,” the pastor said, adding that it “will also create new pressures on those with sincerely held religious beliefs in opposition to homosexual conduct.”

Rev. Jackson then commented on charges that “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” is discriminatory against gays in the military, saying he does not think it's “comparable to the historic discrimination suffered by African Americans.”

“Policies dealing with active homosexuals in the military are based on conduct, where historic discrimination against African Americans was essentially based solely on external characteristics of skin color, immutable unchangeable things.”

“Make no mistake that this policy is not about some purported discrimination of homosexuals in the military,” he asserted.

FRC leader Tony Perkins then called on the Senate to seriously consider the effects that a repeal could have, saying that the group “is urging a vote against the 'motion to proceed' on the defense authorization bill which would repeal the current law.”

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Italian official claims link between homosexual adoption and human trafficking

Rome, Italy, Sep 21, 2010 (CNA) - The Secretary of State for Family Policy in Italy, Carlo Giovanardi, stated in an interview this week that he believes there is a connection between adoption by same-sex couples and the increase in the human trafficking of minors.

In the interview with political analyst Klaus Davi, Giovanardi noted that “where the adoption by gay couples is allowed, such as in the U.S. and Brazil,” the countries have exploded with the “buying and selling of children.”

“It is something that at least this government will never accept and I want to denounce it from here.”

“To impose two parents of the same sex on a child is to subject that child to psychological violence,” Giovanardi continued. “A child has the right to grow up” in an environment where “a paternal and maternal figure complement each other and guarantee the child balanced development,” he added.

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Cardinal encourages faithful to allow God to fill their lives

Lima, Peru, Sep 21, 2010 (CNA) - During Mass on Sunday, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima called on the faithful to set aside “material values” and live according to “the values that bring us closer to God.”

During his homily at the Cathedral of Lima, the cardinal noted that one cannot serve two masters. He explained that it is up to each person to choose the Lord and all that He represents, or to follow false gods and cut off his or her relationship with the one, true God.

“Either choose God: honesty, the 10 commandments, the truth, the family, life, generosity, justice, dignity and honor; or make your own gods: the god of money, of power, of fame, of sex of drugs.  If there are many gods, there is no one true God,” he said.

He encouraged the faithful to practice the moral virtues in family life, at work and in thought and deed. The cardinal also called for the respect of the home as the primary place of education for children and for the respect of the human body.

“We cannot prioritize material values and forget the spiritual ones. We cannot forget about God, Jesus Christ, the Church, the commandments and the sacraments.  We must not forget all these obligations,” the cardinal said. 

He concluded by praying that the Blessed Virgin Mary would help the faithful to be fearless in proclaiming the faith through their daily works.

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Holy Father to make pastoral visit to Palermo

Vatican City, Sep 21, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - The Vatican announced on Tuesday that Pope Benedict XVI will make a pastoral visit to Palermo, Italy in early October for an ecclesial meeting with families and young people from the region.

The Holy Father will make his visit on Sunday, Oct. 3, and after celebrating Mass at 10:30 a.m. in the local Foro Italico Umberto I church, he will lead the faithful in the Angelus prayer.

During the remainder of his trip, Pope Benedict is scheduled to meet priests, religious and seminarians at the cathedral of Palermo at 5 p.m. Following that, he will address a gathering of young people in the city's Piazza Politeama, which takes its name from the Politeama Garibaldi Theatre, built in the 1800s.

The Holy Father will then go to Palermo's Punta Raisi airport for his return flight to Rome.

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American pilgrims attend first Mass at Bl. John Henry Newman Shrine

Birmingham, England, Sep 21, 2010 (CNA) - One day after Cardinal Newman’s beatification, a group of American pilgrims attended the first-ever Mass at the Bl. John Henry Newman Shrine, which is located at the Birmingham Oratory in Birmingham, England. The Oratory hosts some relics of the newly beatified nineteenth-century convert and theologian.

Bishop John Boles and Bishop Francis Irwin, auxiliaries of the Archdiocese of Boston, concelebrated the Mass with Newman Pilgrimage spiritual director Fr. Michael Barber, S.J. and Franciscan University of Steubenville president Fr. Terrence Henry, TOR. All concelebrants were with the Official Pilgrimage to England for Newman’s Beatification sponsored by the Virginia-based Cardinal Newman Society (CNS).

Deacon Jack Sullivan of Massachusetts, whose healing from crippling back pain was attributed to Bl. Newman’s intercession, also attended the Mass. He spoke to the pilgrims after Mass and told them his experience of the miracle.

At the Beatification Mass on Sunday, Cardinal Newman Society pilgrims sat in the VIP section with members of the worldwide Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. Bishops Boles and Irwin and Frs. Barber and Henry concelebrated the Mass with Pope Benedict XVI.

The pilgrims were given an opportunity to see Bl. Newman’s home at the Birmingham Oratory, including his personal room, chapel and library.

The library hosts a collection of more than 10,000 handwritten manuscripts. CNS is currently raising funds to build an archive room for their preservation.

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Catholic legal experts warn HHS against requiring coverage of contraception and sterilization

Washington D.C., Sep 21, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) - Officials with the U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference have urged the Department of Health and Human Services not to require coverage of contraception and sterilization, saying such mandates could compel coverage for abortion-causing drugs and could threaten freedom of conscience.

Anthony Picarello, general counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Michael Moses, USCCB associate general counsel, in a September 17 letter to HHS, said that the drugs, devices and procedures under consideration “prevent not a disease condition, but the healthy condition known as fertility.” Contraception and sterilization pose “significant risks” to women’s lives and health, while mandating their coverage would pose “an unprecedented threat to rights of conscience.”

According to the USCCB, Picarello and Moses said such a mandate would threaten the rights of conscience for religious employers and others with moral or religious objections to these procedures.

“In this regard, the Administration’s promise that Americans who like their current coverage will be able to keep it under health care reform would be a hollow pledge,” they argued.

Any mandated coverage would contradict “longstanding federal precedents” about respecting conscientious objection to such procedures. Precedents include the Church Amendment, which has protected conscientious objection to abortion and sterilization since 1973.

The two counsels for the USCCB also challenged the categorization of contraception as “preventive” medicine, noting that abortion is not a disease condition but “a separate procedure that is performed only by agreement between a woman and a health professional.” They cited studies indicating that contraception does not prevent abortion, as the percentage of unintended pregnancies that are ended by abortion is higher if the pregnancy occurred during a period of contraceptive use.

The two also contended that because at least one FDA-approved drug for “emergency contraception” actually causes early abortions, mandating prescription contraception coverage could be in “direct tension” with a statutory prohibition against mandating any abortion service.

“We hope that these considerations will be taken into account as the Department continues deliberations on a final list of required preventive services for women,” Picarello’s and Moses’ letter concluded.

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Ambassador Kmiec reflects on car crash which killed priest and religious sister

Valletta, Malta, Sep 21, 2010 (CNA) - U.S. Ambassador to Malta Doug Kmiec has said his life will be haunted “forever” by the car crash in which caused the deaths of his friend Sr. Mary Campbell and his confessor Msgr. John Sheridan. Writing in a Maltese newspaper, he praised the lives of the deceased and thanked those who had prayed for the accident’s victims.

“Thank you, Malta, for your prayers and for your many warm messages of concern and caring. In this very moment, your thoughts are sustaining me against the agonizing physical pain of multiple surgeries and procedures,” he wrote in The Times of Malta on Sept. 12.

“Many of you know that before coming to Malta, it had been my special blessing to be together often with Mgr Sheridan and Sr. Mary. Before that horrible accident a week or so ago now, it was as before as we shared the special joy of being back together for the first time in many months,” he commented.

He remembered the 74-year-old Sr. Mary and the work of her fellow Sisters of St. Louis, who have committed themselves to living God’s love, especially for the poor and the marginalized. Kmiec recounted how she had been born in Co. Mayo, Ireland and had help instruct the children of southern California for half a century.

Despite her semi-retirement, she enjoyed teaching catechism and coordinated visits by people like Kmiec who introduced her classes to Thomas More, C.S. Lewis or Dorothy Day.

Kmiec explained that Sr. Mary would wear a plain button down blue sweater at morning Mass and keep an eye out for any misbehaving children whose deeds were “easily reformed by the discomfort of bringing a frown to Mary’s naturally happy countenance.”

Discussing the accident, he noted the “awful silence” immediately after the crash, which was “especially piercing” for him because the steering wheel had penetrated his side and prevented him from “extending a comforting hand” to Sr. Mary.

However, he commented, “my dear, sweet friend was already gone. Sister Mary Campbell, SSL, requiescat in pace.”

Writing before the 94-year-old Msgr. Sheridan succumbed to his injuries on Sept. 17, Kmiec praised the life of the pastor emeritus of Our Lady of Malibu.

“(H)is influence is global in every universal aspect of the Church,” Kmiec wrote in the Times of Malta.

Noting the conflicts and the “troubling uses of faith” surrounding the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Ambassador Kmiec said Msgr. Sheridan’s life of pursuing peace among men and women of all faith traditions has “special poignancy.”

Kmiec thanked those who had been praying for him and for Msg. Sheridan.

“I shall be forever grateful,” he wrote.

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